Multilayer Cloud Detection with the MODIS Near-Infrared Water Vapor Absorption...

Wind, G., S. Platnick, M. D. King, P. A. Hubanks, M. J. Pavolonis, Andrew Heidinger, P. Yang, and B. A. Baum (2010), Multilayer Cloud Detection with the MODIS Near-Infrared Water Vapor Absorption Band, J. Appl. Meteor. Climat., 49, 2315-2333, doi:10.1175/2010JAMC2364.1.

Data Collection 5 processing for the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board the NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra and Aqua spacecraft includes an algorithm for detecting multilayered clouds in daytime. The main objective of this algorithm is to detect multilayered cloud scenes, specifically optically thin ice cloud overlying a lower-level water cloud, that present difficulties for retrieving cloud effective radius using single-layer plane-parallel cloud models. The algorithm uses the MODIS 0.94-mm water vapor band along with CO2 bands to obtain two above-cloud precipitable water retrievals, the difference of which, in conjunction with additional tests, provides a map of where multilayered clouds might potentially exist. The presence of a multilayered cloud results in a large difference in retrievals of above-cloud properties between the CO2 and the 0.94-mm methods. In this paper the MODIS multilayered cloud algorithm is described, results of using the algorithm over example scenes are shown, and global statistics for multilayered clouds as observed by MODIS are discussed. A theoretical study of the algorithm behavior for simulated multilayered clouds is also given. Results are compared to two other comparable passive imager methods. A set of standard cloudy atmospheric profiles developed during the course of this investigation is also presented. The results lead to the conclusion that the MODIS multilayer cloud detection algorithm has some skill in identifying multilayered clouds with different thermodynamic phases.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)